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Last Updated on: 26th July 2023, 10:10 pm
Chapter 7 refers to a type of bankruptcy available to businesses or individuals that are in extreme amounts of debt. If they are without a means to pay what they owe or service their debts, a business owner or person may choose to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. They may also be forced to file this chapter by their creditors in certain situations.
Filing for a Business
When filing a Chapter 7 for a business it means ceasing all daily operations and closing down any productions or manufacturing. A Chapter 7 trustee or bankruptcy administrator becomes involved in order to assess the situation. The trustee is appointed very quickly and is given the authority to gather information and thoroughly examine anything that has to do with the business’ financial operations. Typically this results in complete liquidation of all of the business’ various assets. The proceeds from this liquidation are distributed among the business’ creditors. This means the loss of employment for those employed by the business filing. In certain cases, a company or part of a company may be sold to buyer as part of the liquidation process. Those proceeds are then distributed to pay back debts. This sometimes allows for some or all employees to keep their jobs.
Fully secured creditors are paid first. This means that the collateral held by a mortgage company or collateralize bond holder is greater than or equal to the amount they lent to the owner of the business. These debts cannot be diminished by filing a Chapter 7 because fully secured creditors have a legal right to the property offered up as collateral by the owner or a sum of money equal to the collateral offered.
Filing as an Individual
When filing a Chapter 7 as an individual, also known as a “straight bankruptcy” or “liquidation bankruptcy” there are certain property liquidation exemptions. The type and value of the property that can be deemed exempt varies from state to state. If there are any other assets that do not receive state sanctioned exemption, they are liquidated by the interim trustee and the funds are distributed to creditors, as with a business liquidation. Filing a Chapter 7 allows for any unsecured debts to be discharged. Some of the debts that are unable to be affected by a Chapter 7 are child support, spousal support, and unpaid taxes. Even though these types of debt are not subject to discharge, they are required to be listed on the schedule when filing.
Once the bankruptcy is filed, it remains on an individual’s record for 10 years from the date in which it was filed. Having a bankruptcy on record can hurt a person’s chances to receive credit and/or make the terms of any available credit extremely unfavorable. However, a substantial amount of debt may make credit far less available and much harder to get than a bankruptcy. A person’s creditworthiness is based on and determined by a number of factors.
It is incredibly important when facing extreme financial crisis to seek the counsel of a bankruptcy professional. Attempting to file without professional assistance can lead to unfortunate outcomes. Filing for the wrong chapter of bankruptcy, the exclusion of necessary information, the inclusion of unnecessary information, and filing at the wrong time can cause an already dire situation to become compounded and far more complicated. Many bankruptcy chapters become unavailable to a person for 180 days if their previous case was dismissed under certain circumstances. Being financial trouble, whether a business or a person, is a stress that often times needs to be quickly resolved. Attempting to file a bankruptcy without professional legal assistance and professional financial guidance can lead to extreme delays and mountains of red tape. Not to mention the extreme stress and exhaustion from sorting through the process alone.
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
For those who are struggling to pay their debts, it may be a good idea to file for bankruptcy. Depending on your debt levels and overall financial resources, it may be possible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is also referred to as a liquidation of assets, and the entire case may be completed within a matter of weeks or months. Let’s take a look at what this type of bankruptcy entails and what it’s benefits are.
Have Debts Discharged in as Little as a Few Weeks
If you have a large credit card debt or some other unsecured debt, it may be possible to have the debt discharged within 90 days or less. What this means is that your creditors no longer have a legal right to collect the debt. This is true even if they don’t agree with the terms of the bankruptcy agreement. However, it is important to understand that debtors need to be honest and comply with the court’s requests between the time a case is filed and the time when the debts are discharged. Otherwise, a debtor could be accused of committing fraud and have the case thrown out along with the automatic stay.
What’s A Stay?
When an individual files for bankruptcy, he or she is generally granted a stay from any type of credit actions. This may prevent a foreclosure from proceeding in court or a civil case against you from being heard. Creditors typically cannot talk to debtors or take any action that may result in the debt being collected unless the debtor wishes to make voluntary payments. The stay generally stays in case until the bankruptcy case is completed.
What Assets are Liquidated to Pay Creditors?
Each state has a list of assets that are exempt from liquidation. Typically, a debtor does not have to give creditors any money in a retirement account or any equity that may have built up in a life insurance policy. Although a home may be liquidated in a Chapter 7 case, a homeowner may be able to keep some or all of the equity that he or she has built in the property. Personal belongings such as clothing or sentimental items are not liquidated, and creditors generally don’t want them anyway. Anything left that has any value will be sold at auction with the proceeds used to pay creditors. A bankruptcy trustee will be responsible for taking an inventory of a debtor’s belongings to determine what should be liquidated.
What Happens if There Is a Remaining Balance?
If there is a remaining balance after assets have been liquidated, creditors will be forced to take a loss. Generally, creditors are not allowed to take a debtor to court to recoup any remaining loan balance or balances that may exist after a secured property has been sold. Filing for bankruptcy to have debts discharged is often better than asking creditors to forgive a balance as forgiven debt is taxable while debt discharged in bankruptcy is not.
How Can an Attorney Help a Debtor Achieve Debt Relief Through Bankruptcy?
Attorneys can help debtors throughout the entirety of the bankruptcy process. They may be able to ensure that paperwork is filed and given to the court on time, which ensures that a debtor’s rights are preserved. Legal counsel may also be able to work with creditors to increase the odds that they accept the bankruptcy petition without objection. Finally, an attorney can work with a debtor after a case is over if creditors make an attempt to collect on a discharged debt.
truggling with debt is something that can cause emotional, physical and financial issues in an individual’s life. However, bankruptcy can be the way out when there no other viable debt relief options available. Working with an attorney, it may be possible to have a case resolved quickly, which gives a debtor a fresh financial start and the opportunity to learn from his or her previous errors.
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